Knutton arsonist jailed for torching ex-girlfriend’s father’s van in a drunken rage

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A Knutton man set fire to a van belonging to his ex-girlfriend’s father, in a desperate attempt to make her return to Staffordshire, a court heard.

Andrew Eagles, of Grove Street, Knutton, was the subject of restraining order against his ex-parter Samantha Bailey at the time of the offence, which banned him from contacting her, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard.

But the 26-year-old father-of-two later sent her threatening phone messages warning her that if she didn’t return to Knutton that evening ‘her house would be next’, said Anthony Potter, prosecuting.

Eagles pleaded guilty to arson and breaching a restraining order.

Mr Potter told the court a witness saw what she thought was a bright light on Peake Street, Knutton at around midnight on July 4 2015.

He said she discovered it was a Vauxhall Combo van with one its seats ablaze and she knocked on neighbours’ doors so they could move their cars from the growing fire.

Firefighters arrived to find the fire had blown out the windscreen and spread to the engine.

Mr Potter described how Samantha Bailey, who was in Wales at the time, knew nothing of the event until she awoke to find multiple missed calls on her phone, which she assumed to be Eagles.

 

Andrew Turnock, defending, he had been unable to accept his 2014 break-up with Ms Bailey and being separated from his two young children, aged four and two.

Mr Turnock said: “He had very little of his own childhood that was positive, spending most of it in transit. He doesn’t want to see the same for his own small children.

“He had shown the ability to show some self-realisation and to regret the extent of his actions.”

Judge Paul Glenn sentenced Eagles to a total of 27 months, adding that a further restraining order could be obtained should Ms Bailey want one.

He concluded: “There remains a high risk to Ms Bailey and her family.

“It’s easy to express remorse after you’ve been convicted. Frankly I’m quite sceptical about it.”

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